17. Only 13% of customers believe sales reps understand their needs
Take the time to listen. Too many buyers complain that salespeople do not fully understand their needs and problems. You cannot sell a solution for a problem you don’t know about.
It is said “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and listening deeply is a fundamental skill for every salesperson to take on as a process of continuous learning. Forever. Take it on as a practice, like meditation and yoga. Find different ways to learn questioning skills – as a form of communication, connection, and problem-solving – and not just as a selling skill. Practice asking “Tell me more about that…” in EVERY conversation. Practice BEING inquisitive and interested. Practice asking questions to take a conversation deeper than surface level and see what happens.
AS a Sales Manager, BE the example of listening skills and practice. Ask yourself:
• Do I ask questions to help my sales team members to discover solutions or do I tell them what to do?
• Do I consciously practice developing MY questioning skills with my salespeople, with support people, with customers?
• Do I fully appreciate the skill of asking questions and deeply listening to responses?
Is there room for me to grow in this area? Am I willing to take that on?
In my next series of posts, I am going to be talking about a data set that HubSpot published in 2018 on Sales Enablement Statistics. These are great bits of information for salespeople and sales managers to know in order to impact the actions they take with prospects and with selling and coaching time. I intend to address all 20 of them over time and I welcome you to share how they impact YOUR actions with your team or with your prospects.
50% of sales time is wasted on poor prospects. How are your salespeople prioritizing their leads? Detailed marketing strategies help salespeople focus their energy and bring in leads that have potential—saving your reps time and effort.
For Salespeople: You MUST ask specific discovery questions that target the buyer’s process of decision making. Without that, you will chase rainbows and leave good leads by the wayside because of a personal perspective that you have about the prospect. You need to have questions (BADAS) to determine their position in the buying process that you ask EVERY prospect in order to know how you should engage now and what the outcome is that you are driving to.
For Sales Managers: You also need to be mindful in reviewing new leads acted upon to find out how much the salesperson learned about the prospect and what the next actions are and when they will occur. And begin to create a history of time: when met, first actions and determinations, discover questions asked, appointments set (and for what outcome?), quote – close. AND their overall close ratio. You might trace it all the way back to how the lead was originally managed.
I hear that a lot from salespeople who are not closing the sale or finding the right solution for the customer. If you think this, you will limit your engagement to find out what is driving the customers decision and what they want the solution to do.
What if customers really DO know what they want – they just don’t know what the solution will look like or what is available as a solution? Align the expectation with where the customer is in their buying process: if they are early in the process, they may not know what they can do or what is out there for them….but they know what isn’t working NOW and what they would like in the FUTURE.
Be compassionate to where they are in their decision making process and ask more questions. Customers aren’t required to know the solution – that is the salesperson’s job to help with that. They came in the door…the rest is up to you.